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Older Gamers, More Accessible Game Features?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the can't-see-that-damn-pac-guy dept.

54

simoniker writes "Microsoft's Brannon Zahand has been addressing the key issues of accessibility, from all aspects of game development, noting: 'The demand for accessibility will continue to grow as the gaming population ages. As people grow older, mild impairments can become more severe. Also, people are likely to develop new difficulties and impairments as they age. Adding basic accessibility features to titles can help publishers and developers continue to draw revenue from these customers.' Will we have to change how games play as gamers get older?"

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Awwww man! (0)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16154993)

Dag nabbit! If only the dad-gum gol-danged articles' text were just a smidgen bigger! Hey look, a butterscotch!

Well, this is very true (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155188)

Why exactly do so many websites insist on using 1 pixel fonts (width of lines of the characters is what I am talking about) on a pure wbite background?

It is EXTREMELY poor for readability. Perhaps it dates back from the old days of DOS when you just had one font size so webdesigners never adjusted to the fact they could adjust it. Perhaps all webdesigners got perfect vision. Perhaps webdesigners all work with very low resolutions on really big screens.

Whatever the reason as I get older I am now totally depended on Opera's excellent zoom function. Any reasonably designed page will easily adjust and use a larger character size, if you zoom in enough even going so far as actually use more then 1 pixel for the character lines. Amazing.

It is slightly harder to override the default black on white without getting weird effects but I put up with it to save my eyes from strain.

Does this relate to games? Well yes. Console gamers are sorta lucky here because they had to play their games on the crap resolution TV's that forced game companies to use HUGE fonts. Just check out console to PC ports to see the effect. Granted KOTOR got the worst of both worlds. It kept the same resolution for the menu so you had lousy readbility and a gigantic amount of wasted screenspace.

Anyway, yes I think games must change if they want to appeal to the aging gamer. But I don't think this is just a case of using big fonts or controls that fit in an adult male hands.

Save points are a pain in the ass if you got something called a life (or rather have lost something called a life by getting married and having kids). You simply don't have the time to sit down and play a level all the way through in one sitting when you get older and have other responsibilties.

Same with games that seem to want to insist on enforcing replay. Why exactly do so many console games force me to play it through on easy mode first before unlocking the higher difficulty settings? I payed for the game, I decide how I play it. Imagine if DVD makers could determine you had to sit through the movie in one go or that you first had to watch the theather release before you could see the directors cut.

What I don't think will dissappear is for instance twitch games that as you get older get harder to play, although some old people will be able to out twitch any teenager, for the same reason that teen movies still exist when most movie go'ers ain't teens.

But if you audience in theory is any age group above X then you would be a fool to make the game a pain in the ass to play by using difficult to read fonts. Or maybe not. Just look at the web. Again the same question, why does every webpage use the same tiny font on a white background against all the usability guidelines?

Re:Well, this is very true (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155425)

Most browsers allow the user to change the text size and colors so the people with good vision can have a lot of text on the screen at once while the people with poorer vision can just tell their browser to adjust it.

Re:Well, this is very true (1)

Acy James Stapp (1005) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155455)

Most browsers allow the user to change the text size and colors so the people with good vision can have a lot of text on the screen at once while the people with poorer vision can just tell their browser to adjust it.

Most web designers know that God Almighty Himself wants every single web page to be written in a 5 point font so that the layout of their precious advertising doesn't get broken. Apparently they will burn in the hellfire of damnation for eternity if they don't do everything in their power to prevent the user from changing the size of the font.

Re:Well, this is very true (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155477)

And most websites go and change it anyway. Most browsers offer a minimum font size setting, but that's a half assed solution that doesn't scale all the text together.

Re:Well, this is very true (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156553)

Except for some embedded videos I have yet to see a website that doesn't scale when I tell Opera to zoom it.

Re:Well, this is very true (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156717)

When you *tell* it to. There's absolutely no reason you should have to do that. That's what your font size preference is for.

Re:Well, this is very true (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16159195)

Opera doesn't have a font size preference, at least not easily accessible. You can give it a zoom preference instead or simply override the CSS.

Re:Well, this is very true (2, Informative)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155564)

Whatever the reason as I get older I am now totally depended on Opera's excellent zoom function.
The Mozilla browsers have the ability to set a "Minimum Font Size", which I use. I wouldn't be surprised that Opera has something similar.

I have young-ish eyes (not perfect but near vision is not where I have my problems), but just because I can read rather small fonts doesn't mean I want to.

It does tend to mess some sites up, but usually it's no loss. (For example, the much-linked-by-Slashdat "Escapist" gaming magazine is completely unreadable, but "obviously unreadable due to typographic reasons" is still an improvement over "subtly unreadable due to excessive pretension".)

Re:Well, this is very true (1)

Damvan (824570) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155595)

"I payed for the game, I decide how I play it."

That is exactly why I don't play alot of console games anymore. I believe that you should have access to all the levels in the game from the very start. How many times have you not completed a game simply because you couldn't get past a certain level, or a certain boss. I have a life and don't have the time to fight the same boss 20 times to either get lucky or figure out some obscure pattern to follow to kill em. I paid for the game, let me decide how to play it. If I want to skip that boss after 2 tries, give me that option. If I don't want to play a certain level, give me that option. I am being denied the full content I purchased because of a particularly hard boss, or jumping puzzle, or whatever.

Curious that the captcha is "crankily"

Re:Well, this is very true (1)

markimusk (669429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158993)

amen Brother! I couln't have said it better...

We like gaming, we have money, but we don't have the time to beat some ridiculously set and very abirtrary threshold to beat your stupid boss or what ever. Developers! get a clue! we like gaming and you are killing it for us! Christ I go back to playing Enduro on my GBA Activision cart or Gyruss on the C64 and have fucking blast.

Why will they not listen to us? All that money involved and thier biggest market keeps getting ignored...

how sad is that?

Markimus of K.

Re:Well, this is very true (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16202277)

I totally agree!!!

Re:Well, this is very true (1)

markimusk (669429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16210403)

hmmmm, why am I not too surprised by that?

VIRTUAAAAAAA RAAAAACINGGGG!

Reader vs. Author Control of Web Site Appearance (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158096)

There are people who never understood the fundamental concept of SGML / HTML, which is that the Markup Language describes the objects and the Reader's Browser decides how to display them. They didn't all get it in ~1987, when I was working with standards committees where some people wanted to nail down "Level 2 Headings" as "14-point Bold-Face San-Serif" while other people wanted to be able to display aircraft repair manuals on portable readers that you could use while standing on a ladder trying to get the engine parts unstuck, which might be monospaced uppercase-only with grease on the touchscreen or use hands-free audio browsers so blind people could read hypertext.

This was much less of a problem before the early-mid Internet Boom,

  • when web pages were still fundamentally text with pictures written by people who wanted to say things rather than Revenue Generators written by people who wanted to attract Eyeballs,
  • before the flashy marketdroids took over and hired art directors,
  • and before enough people became web designers that they had to compete for jobs based on their Flashy Artworkz Sk177z, since any high school dropout who could type paragraph codes and match angle-brackets could now be a web designer,
  • before Web Design Software companies started selling products to let high school dropouts design flashy web pages without needing Artwork Sk177z or knowing how to match angle brackets, and
  • before Microsoft started promoting IE's non-standard incompatible features to web designers as a way to prevent Netscape+Java+Unix from killing Windows.
  • Now 95% of them don't get it :-)

CSS has helped a bit - it moved much of the display out of the object-markup body, so it's easier for the reader to override the author's visual preferences, and it's easier for the author to let go of some control. But Javascript has made things worse. And part of the problem is that you're probably using Firefox, not IE, so IE-specific mismarkup may be defaulting to tiny fonts because it's not the same way Firefox would render it. So switch to Lynx, and you'll be able to read it just fine :-) Cellphones/PDAs/Treos help, because they're forcing many web authors to use markup that can be rendered on wimpy screens that are no longer walled-garden WAP but still won't ever have the resolution that the author's PC has.

Me? Not only am I old and cynical, but I'm reading this on a relatively new work laptop that *still* doesn't have as many pixels as the *Sun-3* I was using two decades ago, and it's possible that the *next* laptop we get at home will only do WXGA, which is *still* slightly fewer pixels than 1152x900 (I'd rather pay less money for a faster machine with more pixels, but the one we're looking at is very small and has a very bright clear screen.) Moore's Law means that instead of that screen costing $3000, a CRT costs $29 or LCD costs under $300, but it's still lame. And that means those web-designing art directors with their 23-inch Apple displays or game designers with gimongous-memory 4-D graphics-accelerator cards will continue to design stuff that looks ugly on my machine, in spite of how beautiful it looks to them. And they continue to use pixel-based design tools - back then, when my boss had trouble reading things on his screen, we told Sun NeWS Postscript-based windowing to use bigger fonts, and it rendered them beautifully. 15-20 years later, when I had trouble reading my computer screens all day, Windows wasn't much help, so I had to get reading glasses :-)

Firefox, minimum font size (1)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157316)

Yet another reason I love Firefox. The minimum font size setting (advanced font options) overrides stupid web "designers" who think that itty-bitty fonts are a good idea. I *can* read really small text, but I don't WANT to. It's too much strain on the eyes to be looking at microscopic fonts all day.

Bigger fonts, higher contrast. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155024)

Wimp difficulty (above easy difficulty).
Pause functionality (for when you unexpectedly have to leak out some half-digested prunes)
*cough*...full open source...
and so on.

Not To Mention... (2, Insightful)

sottitron (923868) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155047)

Not to mention the ailments that gaming can produce... Oh yeah, I always take a 10-15 minute break every hour. Don't you?

From the Gamecube manual:

Playing video games can make your muscles, joints or skin hurt after a few hours. Follow these instructions to avoid problems such as Tendinitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or skin irritation:

        * Take a 10 to 15 minute break every hour, even if you don't think you need it.

        * If your hands, wrists or arms become tired or sore while playing, stop and rest them for several hours before playing again.

        * If you continue to have sore hands, wrists or arms during or after play, stop playing and see a doctor.

Re:Not To Mention... (1)

zxnos (813588) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155665)

skin hurt after a few hours

wtf? skin? hurt?

Re:Not To Mention... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156305)

wtf? skin? hurt?

Chafing maybe?
You know, from.. uh.. repetitive movements.

Re:Not To Mention... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163257)

skin? hurt?

Once, I was on this big gaming kick (playing the same game over and over for several days). I developed this hardened area on the skin of my thumb. My Dad said it was called a "callous" and was apparently pretty common back when people were poor and ate dirt. So, yes, I guess your skin CAN be hurt by video games.

-Eric

Re:Not To Mention... (1)

hastati (956528) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156348)

What about taking a 8 hour break every 16 hours? Does that count?

Game-induced impairments (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155054)

Then there's always the issue that playing games when younger might have caused some of these impairments. There'd be nothing worse than being the grand champion at Gradius (space shooter) or something like that, and then finally losing the coordination or eyesight to play that game as well. I'd hope there was a way to make a Gradius-like game more accessible... but heck if I know what it is. Maybe just bigger entities on-screen would help.

My Dad (4, Interesting)

dorath (939402) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155058)

My dad has been playing Diablo style games, RPGs, and adventure games since Diablo, Bards Tale, and Space Quest. He seems to have a new title nearly every time I visit.

Vision - Blindness, inability to distinguish colors, blurred Vision, etc.
He plays most of the games in a lower resolution on a 19" LCD, effectively magnifying them. Keeping 1024x768 (or lower) as an option on new games ensures that he'll be able to continue to see the games.

Hearing - Hard-of-hearing, deafness.
Volume up! When it's an option, he usually has the "bubble speak" enabled so it's not just audio. A comfortable set of lightweight headphones can't hurt either.

Mobility - Wrist, arm, leg, and hand impairments.
He saves early, and saves often. He's not as quick as he was, but being able to save games as often as he'd like means that he isn't set back hours at a time if something surprises him and he doesn't react fast.

It seems to me that keeping existing features instead of dropping them will help with at least some forms of accessability.

Re:My Dad (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155774)

Volume up! When it's an option, he usually has the "bubble speak" enabled so it's not just audio. A comfortable set of lightweight headphones can't hurt either.

I'm not hard of hearing, but I always turn on game subtitles when available because it makes games faster. Why should I sit through a minute of dialog when I can read that same information in 15 seconds? If a developer cares about story more than presentation, they'll make sure subtitles are available and each line of dialog is skippable to the next (games that skip the entire scene are just evil).

Re:My Dad (1)

Cederic (9623) | more than 7 years ago | (#16159531)


Good approach, makes a lot of sense.

Nonetheless it is sensible that game creators consider this and plan ahead. People using consoles can't choose screen resolution - it'd be a tad expensive buying a 60" TV just to be able to read the subtitles of the conversation you can't hear..

Similarly, historically a lot of console games have been very restrictive in where/when you can save. I suspect this is largely due to limited resources for saved games, but also programmer laziness (or, more formally, time/budget constraints).

How old people cope with a controller such as the one with the Wii will be far more interesting, and if that becomes a trend in controller design then that may limit the older market.

Just play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155064)

checkers or chess

It's a matter of priorities (1)

mendaliv (898932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155076)

Honestly, when we live in an era where game designers so pressed for time that they can't even make the game stable, there's no way that they'll have the time to build in accessability features. Or look at the Dead Rising problem [slashdot.org] ; they're not willing to patch an issue that affects a huge group of players, so what's going to happen when people with disabilities want to game?

That being said, it *is* nice to have some of those accessability features, even if you don't really need them. Subtitles/Closed Captioning is incredibly useful when you're gaming in an environment where you can't crank the volume to hear every whisper, for fear of a sudden explosion that'll wake your parents/kids/roommates and cause general problems.

Did he consider the impact on multiplayer games? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155092)

So you make some accessibility features for games. So, if your coordination ain't the best anymore, you'll get "compensation" from the game by having a mild to heavy auto-aim feature. Or if you can't see so well, you get the enemy highlighted in bright colors.

Sounds familiar? Right. We call that "cheating" today.

It's not that I want to look down on aging people. Hey, I'm myself starting to notice that I start to lose my edge. I can't compete with 16 year olds anymore, and I'm saddened by the prospect of not being able to even beat the next Burnout at all anymore. My reaction is getting slower, my eyes ain't what they used to be, but hey, that's ok. I get old, and I'll play what's there for me. No biggie. I'll be as good as I am.

Toning down the game to make it "accessible" would feel like cheating to me. Multiplayer or not. In multi, it's even more blatant because, well, what would keep a non-disabled person from using those tools as well? In single, I'd feel like I cheat myself.

Re:Did he consider the impact on multiplayer games (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155621)

Of course there wouldn't be disability bonuses in multiplayer. Maybe age brackets for player matching. And of course a game design that minimizes unnecessary inaccessibility (e.g. by using large fonts and icons).

Re:Did he consider the impact on multiplayer games (1)

iblum (894775) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155943)

yeah... old people should stick to games that aren't so difficult on them. like checkers and shuffleboard. maybe dominos or croquet.

Ira

Re:Did he consider the impact on multiplayer games (1)

Strolls (641018) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156025)

So you make some accessibility features for games. ... I can't compete with 16 year olds anymore, ... my reaction is getting slower.... Toning down the game to make it "accessible" would feel like cheating to me.
Well, if the authors were to add "disability features" like auto-aim then the easy answer is not to allow those who use them to play against players who play the game without the aids. Sorta like leagues.

But I don't even think this is necessary. I don't own a Nintendo DS (yet, at least) but I understand that a feature of the Nintendo online gaming system is to match players against others of similar ranking and skill. I don't know if Xbox Live has a similar system, but I don't play PC games online much because I find a server, join a game and get my ass kicked in about two minutes. I love FPS games and used to love playing Unreal Tournament against my flatmates, so this sounds ideal to me - a system where I automatically get matched against other grandads who are as numptie at games as I am.

Stroller.

Upcoming titles (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155094)

  • Super Mario Grandfathers
  • Sid Meir's Remembering Your Grandchildren's Names
  • Mavis Beacon Teaches Napping
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Mallwalking
  • World of Long, Rambling Stories About Your Time In Warcraft
  • Square/Enix presents Kingdom Heart Conditions

Re:Upcoming titles (1)

nappingcracker (700750) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155552)

Mavis Beacon Teaches Napping

I have taken a few of these courses, they're great! The best part is [zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz]...

Re:Upcoming titles (1)

josteos (455905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155768)

Don't for get the up'n'comign classics:

  • Doom 4: Hey! Demons! Get Off My Lawn
  • Retirement House on the Hill 27: The Laxative Strikes Twice
  • BattleField 27 (with value-add presale premiums such as armored Depends Undergarments)
  • Dark Age of Glaucoma
  • Harmonica Hero (now with Denture Retention System)
  • LARK Thunder 2015
  • Unreal Bridge Tournament
  • Shuffleboard Madness
  • PharmaCraft
  • The Sims 2: Pensioners

Hey You Punk Kids, Get Off My LAN !! (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16158287)

I've finally had to start wearing reading glasses, and most of my gaming is still Nethack and Solitaire, so I'm allowed to make old-geezer gaming jokes...

Obvious solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155155)

Poor eyesight? Buy a 42" LCD.
Poor hearing? 7.1 Surround.
Bad reflexes and memory? Learn to talk sh!t.

Well now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155180)

Perhaps wheelchair ramps in GTA?
And maybe the cars won't go quite so fast?

my first thought (1)

acvh (120205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155369)

quake for the blind: "there is an enemy at 11 o'clock. he is shooting at you. you're dead."

Re:my first thought (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155642)

Obvious exits are: North, South, Dennis.

Re:my first thought (1)

Lifelike (937107) | more than 7 years ago | (#16164905)

oh no... damn... he just ate your dog too.

Not just an issue of aging (2, Insightful)

Hahnsoo (976162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155375)

Accessibility is an issue that affects millions of Americans (and worldwide) with disability, not just disability due to aging. While the implications of aging will affect a lot of contemporary games and the current "gamer" population, there are quite a few youngsters with disability who are disenfranchised from the enjoyment of video games due to access issues. I remember hearing an article on NPR about the blind being able to play text adventures through text-to-speech. While I doubt the feasibility of statements like "Blind people should be able to play XBox 360", I think that the gaming industry, especially consoles, has matured in sophistication enough to start adding accessibility features to their games. I can think of several off-the-shelf solutions for consoles right now (using one-handed controllers or a Dance Dance Revolution pad for playing RPGs or tactical strategy games, in folks with manual dexterity problems, alternate input devices for consoles, etc.), but it would be nice to see more effort on the software side. After all, gaming is a great hobby for those who may be wheelchair-bound or have to stay indoors for one reason or another.

Re:Not just an issue of aging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16155612)

While I doubt the feasibility of statements like "Blind people should be able to play XBox 360", I think that the gaming industry, especially consoles, has matured in sophistication enough to start adding accessibility features to their games.


Mod parent up.

The gaming industry is not going to all of a sudden make all games friendly to disabled people. However, they are taking steps in the right direction. On the hardware side, you have:

- Left handed / universal mice and joysticks
- One handed controllers, such as the one on the Wii (so even the drummer from Def Lepard can play Donky Konga 3)
- Trackballs with multiple buttons for people who have limited arm mobility
- Console controllers designed to not be confusing (the GameCube controller, despite a few shortcomings, makes excellent use of different colors and shapes for its buttons)

On the software side, things are better, as well:

- Text with speech options are available in most games
- Adjustable resolutions on computer games
- Adjustable zoom and camera angles
- Selectable difficulty settings (for those with slower reflexes)

It's just a matter of time before games end up with something similar to Descriptive Video and other advances. Like the parent post, I doubt that we'll ever see blind people playing the 360, but steps will be taken to make the experience as accessible as possible.

Re:Not just an issue of aging (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156117)

I don't want to sound like a troll or flamebait but things like this is why they are called disabled. Granted, I have no problem with helping them as long as it doesnt affect non-disabled people.

Re:Not just an issue of aging (1)

Hahnsoo (976162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156484)

Well, aside from the obvious playful semantics, those who are supposedly "disabled" can easily thrive in computerized environments (including games) if they are given the tools to do so. This isn't about giving aim-bots to people who can't twitch as well as the next caffeine-addled professional gamer. This is about giving them access to a great and enjoyable hobby that is right up their alley. I'm sure people with disability can be asshole cheaters online, and I'm not suggesting that we should give them license to do so because of their condition, whatever it may be. My original post (parent) isn't about rights of people with disability or aging gamers to "perform" as well as the regular gaming public... I simply feel that the gaming industry has reached a level of sophistication and technical excellence where they can easily provide services for accessibility, tapping into a ripe market for which their products are well-suited.

Retirement servers (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155529)

55 & over only. Allows limited visiting hours from characters from other servers. Can you see it? Lord of the Rings online can have "The Grey Havens". WOW can have "Ashes to Ashenvale", that kind of thing. And when you go your main character can get either a tombstone that is visitable by characters on other servers, or an actual in-game object that holds the ashes.

Twitch games and reaction times (1)

Hahnsoo (976162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155646)

While researching a bit on reaction times, I stumbled upon this link from Clemson's biology department:
http://biology.clemson.edu/bpc/bp/Lab/110/reaction .htm [clemson.edu]

It's a pretty good literature review on the various studies done on Reaction Time and the various factors relating to it. Some pearls:

Many researchers have confirmed that reaction to sound is faster than reaction to light, with mean auditory reaction times being 140-160 msec and visual reaction times being 180-200 msec (Galton, 1899; Woodworth and Schlosberg, 1954; Fieandt et al., 1956; Welford, 1980; Brebner and Welford, 1980). Perhaps this is because an auditory stimulus only takes 8-10 msec to reach the brain (Kemp et al., 1973), but a visual stimulus takes 20-40 msec (Marshall et al., 1943).

Simple reaction time shortens from infancy into the late 20s, then increases slowly until the 50s and 60s, and then lengthens faster as the person gets into his 70s and beyond (Welford, 1977; Jevas and Yan, 2001; Luchies et al., 2002; Rose et al., 2002; Der and Deary, 2006). Luchies et al.(2002) also reported that this age effect was more marked for complex reaction time tasks, and Der and Deary (2006) concurred. Reaction time also becomes more variable with age (Hultsch et al., 2002). Welford (1980) speculates on the reason for slowing reaction time with age. It is not just simple mechanical factors like the speed of nervous conduction. It may be the tendency of older people to be more careful and monitor their responses more thoroughly (Botwinick, 1966). When troubled by a distraction, older people also tend to devote their exclusive attention to one stimulus, and ignore another stimulus, more completely than younger people (Redfern et al., 2002).

At the risk of being politically incorrect, in almost every age group, males have faster reaction times than females, and female disadvantage is not reduced by practice (Noble et al., 1964; Welford, 1980; Adam et al., 1999; Dane and Erzurumlugoglu, 2003; Der and Deary, 2006).

The authors concluded that left-handed people have an inherent reaction time advantage. In an experiment using a computer mouse, Peters and Ivanoff (1999) found that right-handed people were faster with their right hand (as expected), but left-handed people were equally fast with both hands. The preferred hand was generally faster. However, the reaction time advantage of the preferred over the non-preferred hands was so small that they recommended alternating hands when using a mouse. Bryden (2002), using right-handed people only, found that task difficulty did not affect the reaction time difference between the left and right hands.

There are a lot more good summaries in that article. I also remember being in a Science Museum and one of the exhibits claimed that the best reaction times on their particular exhibit in traditional studies were seasoned Aircraft Pilots.

Re:Twitch games and reaction times (2, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16155785)

I also remember being in a Science Museum and one of the exhibits claimed that the best reaction times on their particular exhibit in traditional studies were seasoned Aircraft Pilots.

There was also a study comparing ordinary drivers to racing drivers. Under normal circumstances the reaction times of both groups was the same, but as the speed/pressure went up the ordinary drivers exhibited the expected degradation of reaction times - while the racing drivers reacted faster and faster commensurate with the stimulus.

Training and focus under threat of real pain. IF you want to get better at games, have a friend stand behind you with a cricket bat.

KFG

I am a gamer with physical disabliites. (2, Informative)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16156716)

I enjoyed this article because it relates to me. There's a reason why I don't own a gaming console. I haven't owned one since Atari 2600. Due to my four fingers on my hands, lack of thumbs, and inablility to hold game controllers in mid air, I cannot use those console controllers very well. I have to use them on tables to hold them. This is why I do better on computer games because of keyboards, mice (small light ones like those old two/three button ones), and simple small joysticks (think of those old one/two buttons one like those old school Atari 2600 joysticks [google.com] ). I currently have a Microsoft Sidewinder joystick [amazon.com] , but they have too many buttons and too big for my hands, so I don't do well when flying (I avoid flying in Battlefield [ea.com] games ;)). :(

I also have speech and hearing impediments, so I don't use Teamspeak [goteamspeak.com] or any voice communications. I tried it once in Day of Defeat [dayofdefeatmod.com] (original version) and obviously, no one knew I was saying (even my friends whom I talked to!). Hearing is another problem since I don't hear well with my analog bone conduction hearing aid (mono -- one microphone and can't determine audio directions). I love games that use closed caption/CC and suititles like in Half-Life 2 [halflife.com] games (only use the dialog ones) and F.E.A.R. [whatisfear.com] .

Re:I am a gamer with physical disabliites. (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157332)

I highly recommend you pick up an xarcade stick. It's basically a set of arcade controls mounted on a heavy base that you plug into your pc or almost any modern game console using adapter cables. No holding stuff in mid-air, no thumbsticks, no bizzare hand gestures required.

here's a reason why I don't own a gaming console. I haven't owned one since Atari 2600. Due to my four fingers on my hands, lack of thumbs, and inablility to hold game controllers in mid air, I cannot use those console controllers very well. I have to use them on tables to hold them. This is why I do better on computer games because of keyboards, mice (small light ones like those old two/three button ones), and simple small joysticks (think of those old one/two buttons one like those old school Atari 2600 joysticks).

Re:I am a gamer with physical disabliites. (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157506)

Interesting. It's a bit big and not sure if I have room for it. I will check it out if I need it. I rarely use my joystick and I don't own any consoles right now. :)

Re:I am a gamer with physical disabliites. (1)

Cederic (9623) | more than 7 years ago | (#16159539)


I don't use a joystick when I fly in the BF games.

(I just crash a lot ;)

Re:I am a gamer with physical disabliites. (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16160687)

Eh?

Neural Interfaces (1)

ith(4mor3) (989845) | more than 7 years ago | (#16157611)

This wouldn't be such a problem if I had neural interfaces that could transmit input and output without having to use my cumbersome body. Early methods would probably only use thought-controlled input, but I want to be truly immersed in games some day buy having it all take place in my mind. If I could have the graphics superimposed over part of my vision, I could play a game or do some other activity on my computer instead of having to day dream while I'm stuck doing tasks that don't require much attention. I'd just have to keep the computer offline; I don't want my mind hacked.

IGDA (1)

Iwanowitch (993961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16160290)

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has a Special Interest Group (SIG) about accessibility. There are some really interesting links and documents to be found. Search it yourself at http://www.igda.org/accessibility/ [igda.org] .
Also [shameless plug] this year's Retro Remakes [retroremakes.com] Competition (scroll down till Competition to see the rules, or search the news to find the games entered) was held with disabled gamers in mind. At least in that community, accessibility is kept in mind.
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